Papa John's Founder Resigns as Chairman Following Admission of Racial Remark - NBC Bay Area

Papa John's Founder Resigns as Chairman Following Admission of Racial Remark

John Schnatter admitted to using the N-word during a conference call in May

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    This Sept. 14, 2012, file photo shows John Schnatter, founder and then chairman and CEO of Papa John's International, Inc., with a display of pizzas to celebrate the grand opening of Papa John's 4000th restaurant in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

    After admitting to using a racial slur in a May conference call, John Schnatter resigned Wednesday night from his position as Chairman of the Board of Papa John's, the company said in a press release. 

    In a written statement published to their website, Papa John's said the company would move to appoint a new chairman in the coming weeks. The company said Olivia Kirtley would act as the company's Lead Independent Director. 

    Following a Forbes report on the incident, Schnatter, the company's founder, admitted to using the N-word during a conference call in May. 

    Forbes said Schnatter used the N-word during a media training exercise. When asked how he would distance himself from racist groups, Schnatter reportedly complained that Colonel Sanders never faced a backlash for using the word.

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    "News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true," Schnatter said in a statement released by Papa John's. "Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society." 

    Schnatter stepped down as CEO last year after blaming slowing sales growth on the outcry surrounding football players kneeling during the national anthem. He remains chairman of the company he started when he turned a broom closet at his father's bar into a pizza spot.

    Papa John's shares fell nearly 5 percent Wednesday after the report, closing at $48.33.